Thursday, March 08, 2007

From the Official History: action around Sidi Rezegh

Rommel's Dash to the Wire greatly affected the British ability to move supplies forward to the New Zealand Division, which only had two brigades near Tobruk. British intelligence learned that the Ariete Division and Afrika Korps were returning to the Sidi Rezegh area. The 13th Corps commander, General Godwin-Austen, could see that the New Zealand Division and 70th Division would be fortunate to hold their positions, much less advance. General Godwin-Austen asked the 8th Army commander for reinforcements and received the 1st South African Brigade. With air operations on 27 November groudned by bad weather, protection of the New Zealand Division was left to the remnants of the 7th Armoured Division, under command of General Gott. The 7th Armoured Brigade had been so depleted, the brigade was "withdrawn to Egypt". For the time being, the Support Group operated Jock Columns, raiding as they could. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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